Quick Links for Animal Care and Use FAQs
- Animal Use Protocols (AUP)
- Hazardous Materials
- Personnel/Personnel Requirements
The following links outline regulations, policies, and guidelines.
- Animal Welfare Regulations
- USDA Animal Care Resource Guide (PDF)
- Texas A&M University Rule 15.99.07.M1 (PDF) Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research, Teaching, and Testing
- The Animal Welfare Act (PDF)
- PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 2002 (PDF)
- Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, Third Edition, January 2010
- Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Eighth edition (2011) (PDF)
Any institution using animals to conduct research, teaching, or testing is required by federal regulations to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC, qualified through the experience and expertise of its members, is responsible for the oversight of all animal use activities including the review of animal use protocols and Texas A&M’s Animal Care and Use Program. The IACUC also monitors the institution's animal facilities to ensure compliance with standards and regulatory requirements.
“Use of animals” is defined as any activity involving vertebrate animals in which the natural life style or movements of the animals is materially altered. Use of animal carcasses, tissues, and fluids obtained specifically for research, testing, or teaching purposes are subject to review according to applicable regulations and may be determined to be “use of animals.” If you are unsure if your project involves use of animals, contact the IACUC office.
Contact the IACUC office, and if the work is not subject to IACUC review, a letter will be provided confirming that.
Animal Use Protocols
Proposed use of any living vertebrate animals must be submitted for evaluation by the IACUC. Use of carcasses, tissues, fluids, etc., of dead vertebrate animals, if the animal was sacrificed, or the animal tissue or fluid was procured solely and specifically for a research, teaching, or testing purpose, also may be covered.
If your AUP is externally funded and a proposal to the funding agency exists, a copy of the pending or funded grant proposal must be submitted along with your AUP. A comparison of the animal activities in the grant to the AUP will be performed. Each proposal routing office at this institution assigns a unique number to a proposal. Please include the routing office number with your proposal.
Principal investigators must have the technical expertise and administrative capacity to assume responsibility for successfully accomplishing all aspects of the project. They are accountable to the institution for the proper conduct of the project or activity and must have the authority to ensure appropriate animal care and use. Faculty or staff members who fall into one of these categories may be eligible to be considered as a PI.
- faculty and other senior academic staff who would have fiscal responsibility and whose appointments include the design and direction of research;
- and senior administrative staff with the responsibility of design and management of projects.
Please note, graduate students are not authorized to be principal investigators, however they can be co-principal investigators under an eligible PI.
The IACUC should be notified of any requested changes to your AUP prior to their implementation. Protocol changes that require an amendment request to be submitted to the IACUC include, but are not limited to, adding/deleting key personnel, increasing the number of animals used, adding species, adding or deleting experimental procedures, modifying the anesthetics or analgesics regimen, changing housing/use locations, or any changes that affect the science of the study or the impact on the physiology of the animal.
Veterinarian Verification and Consultation (VVC) is an expedited process the PI can utilize to make minor modifications to previously approved AUP activities without having to submit an amendment. Modifications must not result in a change in study objective or increase pain, distress or degree of invasiveness beyond what is currently approved in the AUP. More information about VVC can be found on the Approval Process page as well as the VVC Explained document (Texas A&M authentication required).
If you are confident that all animal use is completed and will have no further need for animal use on a protocol, then you may terminate the protocol. However, even if you are finished using animals it is not necessary to terminate the protocol, as future circumstances may cause you to wish to continue animal use (e.g., grant funding). Once an AUP is terminated (deactivated) no animal work can be performed and no animals maintained under that AUP.
If you believe that your current AUP will expire prior to the approval of your renewal submission, you should contact the IACUC Office at 979.845.1828 immediately. At the time the original AUP expires, all work involving the use of live animals must cease and any animals being kept on the protocol must be transferred to another appropriate and approved IACUC animal use protocol or disposed of.
Work utilizing animals may not resume until the renewal protocol is approved by the IACUC and the animals involved are transferred to an approved IACUC protocol which covers the entirety of the work to be performed.
Animal users should refer to the biosafety unit for information on requirements for the use of biohazards on or in living animals. All biohazards in animals must be approved before the AUP will be approved.
The use of chemical hazards in or on living animals is a part of the AUP approval process.
Inspections and Post Approval Monitoring
The IACUC does not set expiration dates for storage of sterilized items. The IACUC recognizes that compromise of sterility is not necessarily time-related, but may be event-related. Evaluation of stored sterile supplies will be based on storage conditions, handling, and overall appearance of the protective packaging. The IACUC will determine the acceptability of sterilization and storage procedures based on guidance for storage and handling of sterile packages provided by the committee.
The purpose of Post-Approval Monitoring, or PAM, is to help principal investigators (PIs) stay compliant with their IACUC-approved animal use protocols, which helps Texas A&M University meet animal welfare regulations. A PAM visit is intended to be a collegial and supportive review of approved activities and an opportunity to educate and share information with investigators and research staff. Ultimately, the PAM program will confirm that the manner in which the IACUC understood and approved an animal protocol is consistent with the way procedures are being performed. More information may be found on the PAM FAQs flyer. (Login required to access)
The IACUC requires that an AUP lists the principal investigator responsible for the AUP and all individuals that are involved with the care and use of animals or use of animal tissues under the AUP. All personnel under the AUP must have completed the IACUC personnel requirements prior to their involvement with the care and use of animals and their approval to work on an AUP.
All personnel listed on an AUP must complete the CITI online training program module Working with the IACUC. Information on the required training may be found online.
All personnel listed on an AUP must complete enrollment requirements for the Biosafety Occupational Health Program prior to approval to work with animals. For information and enrollment forms, go to the BOHP website.